On Thursday 7 July, we have our auction of Fine Jewellery, Silver and Luxury Accessories. The auction features a beautiful selection of antique and luxury jewellery, with examples from iconic 20th century jewellery designers. Ahead of the auction, we take a look at just a few of the many highlights.
Gracing the cover of our auction catalogue, we have Lot 224, an exquisite early 20th century convertible diamond floral tiara and necklace, dating from circa 1910.
The tiara was made by Carrington in London for Phyllis Elinor Turner (1893-1958) for her presentation at court, possibly at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, before her marriage to Gilbert Maxwell Adair Graham on 19 June 1913. Phyllis and her brother Arthur Turner were born, brought up, and lived their lives in Porto, amongst the 1000 strong Anglo-Portuguese community. She worked tirelessly for poor relief charities in the Douro Valley and was made a Dame of the Order of Christ of Portugal for her charitable work.
During World War I, Gilbert Maxwell Adair Graham was on the Staff of the Quartermaster General Department at the War Office and received an OBE in 1918 and a CBE in 1919. Gilbert's Scottish family had long trading links with Portugal starting in the late 18th century. Their introduction to the port business came in 1820 when John Graham exported 27 barrels of port to Glasgow in lieu of an unpaid debt.
By the 1880s the Graham family's port trading was so successful they launched the W. & J. Graham port business. The Graham family purchased their own Portuguese estates in 1890, the Quinta dos Malvados vineyards in the Douro Valley, in order to produce their own port grapes. After many successful years in the port trade, the Graham family sold their remaining share of the W. & J. Graham business in 1970. In subsequent decades decedents of the Graham family have brought other vineyards Douro Valley and have set up a new successful port business with their brand, Churchill's Port.
We then have, Lots 338 & 339 each featuring wonderful Sri Lankan sapphires. Both will be offered with gemmological laboratory certificates. Lot 338 is a classic ring, designed with a cushion cut sapphire with a colour change from blue to purple, surrounded by old mine cut diamonds.
Lot 339, is a beautiful dress ring designed by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. The ring is set with an oval cabochon star sapphire, with pavé set diamond leaf shoulders.
Born in 1907, Jean Schlumberger has become recognised as one of the master jewellery designers of the 20th century. He began designing costume jewellery for Elsa Schiaparelli in Paris in the late 1930's, and gathered around him such leading socialites and style icons as the Duchess of Kent, Daisy Fellowes and Diana Vreeland, from whom he received his first jewellery design commissions. After the end of the Second World War, Schlumberger opened a workshop in New York, followed by a boutique in Paris in 1950. In 1956 he was invited to become the Vice President of jewellery design at Tiffany & Co., making his name synonymous with Tiffany's jewellery design.
Known as 'The King Of Diamonds', Harry Winston was one of the greatest jewellers of the 20th century, and dealt with some of the world's most famous diamonds and coloured stones. His legacy has carried on through Harry Winston Jewellers, which has several boutiques in the United States, Europe and Asia. We are pleased to be offering Lot 340, a sapphire and diamond suite by Harry Winston, including a necklace with removable pendant/brooch; a bracelet; and ear clips.
The auction features a lovely selection of Victorian jewellery. Dated to 1869, a highlight is Lot 209, a Victorian diamond and Burmese ruby seven stone ring. The most highly prized rubies come from Burma, and are renowned for their pigeon blood red colour.
Finally, we have Lot 188, a striking mid-Victorian serpent necklace, dating to circa 1870. The graduated articulated serpent link necklace is set with circular cabochon turquoise, to a pavé set turquoise head with cabochon ruby eyes and rose cut diamond eyebrows and nose.
Serpents have been used in jewellery for millennia, and they have represented many ideas such as the warding off of evil spirits and rejuvenation. An Ouroboros snake, where the snake has its tail in its mouth, is recognised as a symbol of eternity and everlasting love. Queen Victoria's love of serpent jewellery, which included her engagement ring modelled on an Ouroboros snake, helped to make snakes a hugely popular jewellery motif in the 19th century.
Thursday 7 July 2022 | 10.30am
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
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